Digital Media

It’ll Be Fun to Watch This Mistake Again

A very amusing, if not interesting, read tonight in tomorrow’s NYT about Yahoo’s media ambitions here.

This part of the story especially resonated:

Despite the drama and the huge number of people flocking to the
site, Lloyd Braun, the television impresario hired last year to oversee
Yahoo’s media operation, was not satisfied. All Yahoo was offering its
users, Mr. Braun fumed, was a white page filled with links to other
sites on the Web
. (emphasis added)

He made his frustration clear to Scott Moore, who had defected from  Microsoft
to run Yahoo’s news operation. Within a few hours, Mr. Moore
orchestrated a quick fix to make the shuttle page comply with Mr.
Braun’s mantras: "more immersive," "more engaging," and most of all,
more original programming.

Yeah, that boring Yahoo! page was no good at all. Why, it might even have been useful. Let’s try to recreate TV on the computer instead…

I’ve seen this movie before. Another exhibit for the Erick Schonfeld "everything old is new again" meme.
Remember those great, world-beating efforts at original Internet
programming led by former television executives: MSN Channels (the
first, perhaps most colossal waste so far but few can remember),
Pseudo, DEN, Dreamworks Interactive, Entertaindom, and even Yahoo! Platinumm (led by Braun’s quasi-predecessor and Entertaindom-honcho Jim  Moloshok) to mention just a few?

Maybe Braun and his team are really smart, and maybe know something I don’t, and maybe the other efforts just came at the wrong time or were led by the wrong people or both. Maybe this vision of the web, one shared held by many folks including probably most at Yahoo, is wrong. Maybe they will succeed. But I think I’ll put some money with a London bookie tomorrow on exits dates for this effort, and probably this team, in the next 24 months.